GEORGIA. BOARD OF GAME AND FISH .
SOME HELPFUL GEORGIA BIRDS
UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA
Digitized by the Internet Archive
University op Ceorgi
State Board of Game and Fisi
peter s. Twrrrr. commissioner
State Board of Game
D. M. BIRD. CHAIRMAN
CHARLES S. ARNOW
J. E. HARDEN
HENRY F. BRANHAM, DIRECTOR JUNIOR DEPT.
PETER S. TWITTY. COMMISSIONER
This book has been prepared by two well known
Georgians who are well qualified by study and experi-
ence to write such a book for the boys and girls and those
of mature years of our State. One of the authors is Mr. J.
A. Hall, a newspaper man formerly of Gordon county
but for the past many years editor of the DeKalb New
Era, Decatur, Georgia. Mr. Hall is a well-known writ-
er of nature features for the Atlanta Journal and oth-
er publications. Having lived close to nature all his life,
he is deeply interested in children and the part they ought
to play in the preservation of Georgia birds and all harm-
less wild life.
Dr. Wallace Rogers has collaborated with Mr. Hall
in the preparation of this book. Dr. Rogers is an associate
of the American Ornithologist's Union and also a member
of the American Association for the Advancement of Sci-
ence. He is regarded as one of the leading authorities in
Georgia on birds and other nature subjects. His opinions
are highly respected by those who know.
While this book has been prepared primarily for
school boys and girls, it is accurate from a scientific
standpoint and for that reason alone should be of interest
to grown people as well as children. It is my belief that
this book will be a great help to the teachers of Georgia
in the teaching of nature study.
This book has been prepared with special reference
to the Loyal Legion of Nature Guardians. It will be not
only a valuable aid in the study of nature but also a
means of giving our school boys and girls an interest in
the preservation of our song birds and other helpful wild
life of forest and stream, will help the children to under-
stand the reasons for game and fish laws, and will there-
fore help to create sentiment for the enforcement of these
laws. Only by the keeping of these laws can we hope
to save our fish and game from being ultimately exterm-
inated. Since enforcement of all law is a matter of public
sentiment, it is proper that we should begin with the
This book is well illustrated and I take pleasure in
commending it to our public school teachers in the belief
that it will prove of real help to them.
M. L. DUGGAN,
Supt. of Schools.
This little book is printed and distributed by the State
Board of Game and Fish under the direction of the pres-
ent Commissioner primarily for school boys and girls of
the State and with especial reference to the Loyal Legion
of Nature Guardians. It is a part of the conservation pro-
gram of the Department. It is the desire of the Board
and the Commissioner not only to conserve the game of
interest to the sportsman, but also to give protection to
our song and insectivorous birds as well as the other
forms of wild life native to our State.
This is not a pretentious treatise on the birds of Georgia
but is, as the title suggests, a guide to the study of some
of the common and helpful birds of our State. It seeks
to call attention to the high economic value of birds in the
destruction of rodents, weed seeds and insect pests, and
it is sent out with the hope that it may serve to stimulate
interest in the study of our avifauna and suggesl tin-
need of a complete book on Georgia birds.
The arrangement of the sketches follows the order
of the American Ornithologist's Union; the common
names of the birds are given, followed by the Latin
names, with the family to which the individual bird be-
longs. This is done to accommodate the student who may
wish to find a fuller discussion in one of the text books on
Acknowledgement is hereby given to Mr. Earl K.
Greene, Associate of the American Ornithologist's Union,
for reading the manuscript and for valuable suggestions;
also to the Departmenl of Game and Fish for generous
cooperation and help.
March 8th, 1928,
The Department of Game and Fish has assembled at
considerable effort and time a collection of mounted
birds and mammals. This has been done for the con-
venience of students of natural history subjects, and to
call attention to the great variety of our wild life. The
value of the study of mounted specimens is very great
since in the field we often get but a fleeting glimpse of
the bird, or mammal, while in the museum prolonged and
careful observation may be made. This supplemented
by observation in the field helps to familarize the student
with the many forms of wild life. For example: of the
warbler family of birds some thirty or more species may
be seen in Georgia. None of our observers have seen all
of these. The museum has twenty-eight species of the
warbler family. To see all of them in the field would re-
quire a long period of observation. Here they may be
studied at your leisure.
The museum contains 209 specimens of birds and is
on the third floor of the Capitol near the office of the
Department of Game and Fish. It is open to the public
all the time, and the children of the State are especially
invited to see it.
LIST OF BIRD SKETCHES
Introductory Article on Birds
Family of Bird
Yellow Breasted Chat
White Breasted Nuthatch
We see birds every day. They come into the yard
and pick up crumbs and other bits of food. They are on
the ground, in the trees along the city streets and they
gather in flocks out in the fields and woods of the coun-
try, but most of us know very little about them.
We may know the jay by his blue and black feathers
and harsh voice, the crow, which is the big black cousin
of the jay, the noisy English sparrow, which builds its
nest under eves of houses and other places about our
homes, the Carolina wren, the mocking bird, the red
headed woodpecker, and other birds, which live with us
both winter and summer and which are familiar through-
out the country, but these are only a few of the many
thousands of birds which live all around us, or which pass
through our locality as the seasons change .
Many kinds of birds spend the winter in the far
south where the climate is warm, flowers are in bloom
and plenty of food may be found. When spring comes
these birds fly northward ; some of them go many
thousands of miles into the wild cold regions of Canada
to build their summer nests, lay their eggs and hatch
their young. When summer is over the old birds and the
young ones fly back to the warm countries of the south to
spend another winter. This movement from one region to
another is called bird migration.
When the first days of spring arrive, and the sun
shines warm on the bare fields and naked woods, we may
see, if we watch closely, some strange new birds moving
slyly along the fence rows and through the tangled thick-
ets and hedges. Some of these new birds will spend the
summer with us; others will go farther north to build
nests. As spring advances and young leaves begin to ap-
pear, the number of new birds greatly increases. Among
the new comers we see the woodthrush, the oriole and a
little later, the kingbird, the tanager and the cuckoo.
In the springtime, therefore, when the migrating birds
are going northward and the summer visitors are coming
in, is the best time to get acquainted with the birds, learn
their songs, study their habits and make friends with
Birds are like children. They quickly learn who are
their friends and who are their enemies. People who are
good to the birds, scatter grain and crumbs in the yard
for them to eat, and do not try to hurt them, have more
birds about their homes than people who try to kill them,
throw stones at them, or molest them in other ways. If
you like to look at birds and enjoy their music, you can
have them by giving them food and water and cultivat-
ing their friendship.
Birds devour vast numbers of insects, weed seeds and
rodents, and in this way have a very large economic
value. They are the farmer's best friends and should,
therefore, have the sympathy and protection of people
living in the country. Birds have a great aesthetic value.
Their songs bring cheer and comfort and by their grace-
ful movements and attractive bodies, they stimulate an
appreciation of beauty and poetic harmony. People who
love birds are helped by association with them.
If Mother Nature patches
The leaves of trees and vines,
I'm sure she does her darning
With the needles of the pines.
They are so long and slender;
And sometimes, in full view,
They have their thread of cobwebs,
And thimbles made of dew.
— William H. Hayne.
A long-tailed, slate colored bird with a slender body
with two black bands across the breast may be frequently
seen running awkwardly about the wet ground of quag-
mires and small pools. He tells his name by calling, "kill-
dee, killdee.'* He often stands on one foot, as is the cue-
torn with wading birds, while looking for bugs, tadpoles
or other kinds of food, and, when disturbed, 'a group of
these birds will rise in awkward, jerky, flight, uttering
their strange cries as they flap their way to a safe dis-
The killdeer — this is his correct name — is not only
an interesting bird to look upon, but he serves a useful
purpose in destroying water bugs and other things, which
are hatched in large numbers in small bodies of stagnant
water and in low wet soils.
KILLDEER — Oxyechus vociferus vociferus.
Length 9 to 10M> inches.
Forhead with a white band from eye to eye, and a black band above
the white one: a white collar around neck continuous with white of
throat; a black collar around back of neck continuous with a black
breast band, behind this another black breast belt. Underpart of
body pure white except the two pectoral belts. Crown and back gray-
ish brown. Tail tipped with black and white.
Range North and South America. Breeds from the Gulf to Canada.
Nest a slight depression in the ground scantily lined with bits of
grass or stones. 4 butfy white eggs spotted with chocolate.
The Bobolink has come, and like the soul
Of a sweet season, vocal in a bird,
Gurgles in ecstasy we know not what
Save June"! Dear June! Now God be praised for June.
The Mourning Dove
Distinctive among the bird notes familiar to Georgia
is the mourning voice of the dove. Among all other bird
notes there is nothing like it. Beginning in a soft, sub-
dued tone, it grows in volume and reminds one of an out-
burst of great sorrow.
Doves are very shy of their human neighbors and will
frequently abandon a nest when they learn it has been
discovered, even though the eggs and nest are not molest-
ed. Doves raise but two young at a time and therefore
increase slowly. They become attached to a given com-
munity and will frequently return there to nest year after
The food of doves consists almost entirely of the seeds
of noxious weeds and such waste grain as they may be
able to find in fields and along roadways. The nests of
doves may be found scattered throughout Georgia and
are especially plentiful in the northern part of the state,
and these nests should not be molested in any way.
(Courtesy Audubon Society)
MOURNING DOVE — Zenaidura macroura carolinensia.
Length 11 V 2 to 12 inches.
Upperparts olive grayish brown; breast purplish; abdomen cream-
buff; small black spot under ear.
Breeds throughout its range which is the entire United States and
southern Canada. Winters from the Ohio Valley to Panama.
The nest is a sorry structure usually within 10 feet of the ground,,
rarely on the ground, and contains 2 white eggs.
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
Against the earth's sweet-flowing breast.
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with the rain
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
— Joyce Kilmer.
The Sparrow Hawk
The sparrow hawk is one of the well known birds of
the country districts. While called a hawk, he is really
a falcon. He is the least of all hawks, and is so bold that
he sometimes builds his nest in church steeples, in the
tops of tall buildings and other sheltered nooks. This
little hawk is a handsome, graceful bird, and frequently
utters a shrill, quavering cry as he flies. Being a hawk
has caused him to be regarded as an enemy by most
people, and therefore continuous war has been waged
upon him, along with all other hawks, but the sparrow
hawk does little or no harm.
He may sometimes attack small birds and very young
chickens, but this is not often. During the warm part of
the year he feeds upon grasshoppers, crickets, beetles,
caterpillars ?,nd spiders. In fail and winter he eats mice,
caught in the fields and about barns. A family of spar-
row hawks, living in the garret of an isolated barn, would
no doubt do much to keep the building free from rats
and other small animals. Because these little hawks have
been brave enough to nest near the homes of man, large
numbers of them have been killed. This is unfortunate,
as the\ T are now known to destroy many things which are
harmful to us.
SPARROW HAWK — Cerchneis spareria sparveria.
Length 10 inches.
Back reddish, barred with black; tail reddish with a black band
near the end, the tip white. Underparts cream-buff spotted with
Range North America east of the Rockies.
The nest is usually in a hole in a tree with 3 to 7 eggs creamy-
white to reddish, finely marked with shades of the ground color.
The Little Screech Owl
We have all heard, and remember, the unpleasant
voice of the little screech owl. It has a harsh, shivering
sound as if the little owl were suffering from cold. Some-
times the owl is heard very close to the house at night
and, as his voice is depressing, we want him to go away,
which he usually does in a few minutes.
On account of his shivering voice and the fact that he
belongs to the owl family, the little screech owl is very
unpopular with some people, which is unfortunate. He
does practically no harm, but is very helpful to us, for he
feeds on mice, crawfish, frogs, toads and lizards, and such
insects as grasshoppers, beetles and cut worms.
Screech owls build their nests in hollow trees and such
other protected places, and, like other owls, they move
about at night and are not often seen in the daytime. The
screech owls are among man's most useful friends and
they should not be harmed.
SCREECH OWLS Photograph by Wallace Rogers.
SCREECH OWL — Otus asio asio.
Length 9 V2 inches.
Two distinct phases of plumage color not dependent on age, sex,
or season. In the reddish-brown phase the upperparts bright red-
dish-brown, finely streaked with black; underparts whitish. In the
gray phase the upperparts are generally brownish-gray, streaked
with black, and the underparts are white, finely streaked and irreg-
ularly barred with black. The ear tufts are conspicuous and are
about 1 inch high.
Range eastern North America.
The nest is generally in a hollow tree and contains 4 to 6 white
THE BALTIMORE ORIOLE
How falls it, Oriole, thou has come to fly
In tropic splendor through our northern sky?
At some glad moment was it Nature's choice
To dower a scrap of sunset with a voice?
Or did an organe tulip, flaked with black,
In some forgotten garden, ages back, —
Yearning toward Heaven until its wish was heard,
Desire unspeakably to be a bird?
— Edgar Fawcett.
The Yellow-Billed Cuckoo
People living out in the country frequently hear in
spring time a weird clucking bird voice, usually coming
from some unseen source. It is the voice of the yellow-
billed cuckoo, known to many people as the rain crow.
The cuckoo is a long, slender, shy bird with gray, brown-
ish back and black tail tipped with white and breast
white. It moves noiselessly about orchards and fruit-
bearing hedges in search of hairy caterpillars, bugs and
The rain crow seldom ventures into villages or ap-
proaches human homes. He prefers to build his nest in
secluded woods well above the ground. He is a graceful
and interesting bird and, while he may not be able to
foretell rain as has been supposed, he is nevertheless one
of our most attractive summer bird visitors. He appears
in upper Georgia about the first of May and returns south-
ward in early autumn.
YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO — Coccyzus americanus americanus.
Length 12 inches.
Upperparts brownish- gray; outer tail feathers black, conspicuously
tipped with white; underparts dull whitish. Upper part of bill black,
lower part yellow except at the tip.
Breeds from northern Florida to southern part of eastern Canada,
west to Nebraska and Oklahoma; winters in South America.
Nest of small sticks in low trees or bushes, 5 to 10 feet from the
ground. 3 to 5 pale greenish eggs.
O blithe New-comer! I have heard,
T hear thee and rejoice;
O Cuckoo! shall I cail thee Bird,
Or but a wandering Voice?
A Family of Bird Carpenters
Nature has given to birds suitable tools with which to
build their homes and secure their food. The woodpeck-
ers have been provided with bills which are long, strong
and pointed at the end like chisels. With these sharp,
cutting bills, they are able to make holes through thick
green bark, or dead wood, in search of insects and other
food. They also use their bills to dig nesting holes in
dead trees and other sheltered places. The woodpeckers
all belong to th9 red-headed family. All of them, except
the white-headed variety which lives in California, show
a spot of red somewhere about the head, except certain
female birds. The woodpeckers are not musical, but
some of them, like the flicker, utter a loud strident call.
Most people in Georgia are familiar with red-heads,
flickers and so-called sapsuckers.
The woodpeckers are all industrious birds, always busy
searching for grubs, ants and other insects in the crevices
of bark, pecking into decaying wood or hammering holes
through the bark of trees in search of ants which they
can reach with their long wire-like tongues on the end
of which is a little barbed spear.
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER — Malanerpes erythrocephalus.
Order PIC1. Family PICIDAE. Length 9% inches.
Head, neck, throat and upper breast deep red; upper back bluish
black; part of wings and lower back white; tail black, the feathers
edged with white; under parts white, the middle of the abdomen
slightly tinged with reddish.
Range, southern Canada to Gulf, including Mississippi Valley.
Nest usually in a dead tree with 4 to 6 white eggs.
Speak, what trade art thou?
Why sir, a carpenter.
Where is thy leather apron and thy rule?
What dost thou with thy best apparel on?
— Julius Caesar, Act 1. Sc. 1 L 5.
One of the most conspicuous and best known of the
large family of woodpeckers is the flicker, known to
many people as the yellow hammer. This bird, the top
of whose head is bluish gray and whose wing feathers,
are bright yellow underneath, wears a black collar around
his neck. He is frequently seen upon the ground in open
wood lots where he is searching for ants and grubs which
live in the ground. The flicker is a great eater of ants
and has been known to consume from three to five thou-
sand in a single day.
The flicker, like other woodpeckers, also eats large
numbers of wood-boring grubs and other insects found
about the trunks and branches of trees.
The flicker is somewhat larger than the jay, seldom
remains still but seems to be always busy searching for
food or hammering with his stout bill upon dead trees or
the gables of barns where he sometimes seeks winter
The flicker has a loud, strident voice and his rolling
call, sent out from the top of a high tree, sounds like a
challenge to the rest of the world. The flicker is a grace-
ful, attractive and useful bird and deserves our friend-
SOUTHERN FLICKER — Colaptes auratus auratus.
Length ll 1 /* inches.
Top of head bluish or ashy gray; scarlet band across back of neck;
lower part of upper body white; wing lining yellow; spotted under
parts; black breast crescent. Female very properly lacks the mous-
tache of the male.
Range, South Atlantic and Gulf States. The Northern Flicker,
Coloptes auratus luteus, inhabits the eastern part of North America
from North Carolina to Canada.
Nest in holes with from 5 to !> white eggs.
The nighthawk is not a hawk at all but is a harmless
and highly useful bird which lives entirely upon insects
captured in the air. ■ The nighthawk is known to most
people by the name of bull bat. It has remarkable powers
of flight, and a few years ago numbers of these birds
could be seen during summer afternoons slowly flapping
their way high overhead. In these flights they performed
numerous interesting evolutions, sometimes folding their
wings and dropping for a considerable distance merely to
tease one of their companions by uttering a booming
sound in his ear.
The nighthawk, like the whip-poor-will, has a large
mouth suited for capturing gnats and other insects on the
wing and these constitute his entire food. The night hawk
lays two eggs upon the bare ground in some unfrequent-
ed spot and as the color of the bird resembles dead leaves
and grass one may walk within a few feet of one of these
birds sitting on its nest without seeing it.
NIGHTHAWK Chordeiles Virginianus virginianus.
Upper parts black, unevenly marked with cream-buff; wing dull red-
dish crossed in the middle of the primaries with a conspicuous white
bar; tail black with broken bars of cream-buff and a white band on
the end of all but the middle feathers; throat with a broad white
band, chin and upper breast black, the feathers tipped with cream-
buff or white.
Range — North and South America.
Nest on the ground, sometimes on the flat roofs of houses, with two
dull white eggs evenly marked with small brownish spots.
THE SING-AWAY BIRD
Have you ever heard of the Sing-away Bird,
That sings where the Runaway River
Runs down with its rills from the bald-headed hills
That stand in the sunshine and shiver?
"Oh sing! sing-away! sing-away!"
How the pines and the birches are stirred
By the trill of the Sing-away Bird!
'T was a White-throated Sparrow, that sped like an arrow
Of song from his musical quiver.
And it pierced with its spell every valley and dell
On the banks of the Runaway River.
"Oh sing! sing-away! sing-away!"
The song of the wild singer had
The sound of a soul that is glad.
— Lucy Larcom.
The Chimney Swift
We see the chimney swifts only in summer. They reach
Georgia from the South in April. During the warm
months, and especially during the early fall, flocks of
these birds may be seen flying swiftly about the sky and
their gleeful chatterings remind one of happy children at
Formerly they nested in hollow trees but since houses
have become numerous and trees scarce, they nest inside
chimneys and gather their food as they fly swiftly in wide
circles through the air. Their food consists almost entire-
ly of gnats and other flying insects. As summer draws to
a close, these birds collect in large flocks and house them-
selves in chimneys at night. They go southward in Octo-
ber and return the following May.
CHIMNEY SWIFT— Chaetura pelagica.
Length 5 V2 inches.
Entire plumage grayish black, throat somewhat lighter than the
back; black spot in front of each eye; shafts of tail feathers extend
beyond the vanes.
Breeds in eastern North America from southern Canada to the Gulf
west to the plains; winters in the tropics.
The nest is a half basket of dead twigs glued together with saliva
and fastened to the wall of a chimney like a bracket or shelf and held
by a gummy secretion from the bird's salivary glands. There are
from 4 to 6 white eggs.
It's surely summer, for there's a swallow:
Come one swallow, his mate will follow,
The bird race quicken and wheel and thicken.
— Christina G. Rossetti.
The Humming Bird
The humming bird is the smallest of all our birds; he
is also one of the most beautiful in color and is incom-
parably swift in flight. This dainty little stranger from
the far South comes into our country when the flowers
begin to bloom in the spring and spends his time sipping
the sweets from the open blossoms about the yard and
garden. He has the ability to hold himself in the air by
the rapid movement of his wings while he thrusts his long
sharp bill into the deep cups of the honeysuckle and other
flowers. The humming bird also eats plant lice, spiders,
and other harmful insects.
The dainty little nest of the humming bird looks like a
cup of moss sitting upon the branch of a tree and is often
hard to distinguish from a dead knot of wood. He has no
song, but his brilliant colors and remarkable powers of
flight make him one of the most interesting visitors which
come into our flower yards.
RUBY-THROATED HUMMING BIRD
(Courtesy Board of Game and Fish of Pennsylvania)
RUBY-THROATED HUMMING BIRD— Archilochus colubris.
Length 3% inches.
Upper parts bright, shining green; wings and tail dark gray with
purplish reflections; throat intense ruby-red with metallic lustre;
underparts somewhat dusky with greenish tint on sides; tail forked.
Breeds throughout its range which is Eastern North America.
Winters as far south as Panama and Central America.
The nest is one of the most beautiful examples of bird craftsman-
ship, is made of plant down and is covered on the outside with
lichens, usually about 20 feet up and saddled on a small limb. There
are 2 tiny, white eggs.
And the humming-bird that hung
Like a jewel up among
The tilted honeysuckle horns
They mesmerized and swung
In the palpitating air.
Drowsed with odors strange and rare.
And, with whispered laughter, slipped away
And left him hanging there.
— James Whitcomb Riley
The Blue Jay
Arrayed in his showy blue uniform with black and
white trimmings and wearing a jaunty cap upon his head,
the blue jay reminds us of a well dressed soldier. His
clothes suggest style and neatness but his manner is rude,
his voice loud and harsh and he deports himself with an
air of haughtiness. He is bold, almost to the point of im-
pudence, invades the yards and even the porches of our
homes, and scolds at us in his rasping voice.
The jay, however, must have credit for some good
qualities along with his bad ones. Government experts,
who have examined the stomachs of a large number of
jays, have found that they eat many injurious insects
such as caterpillars and grasshoppers, and that the
greater part of their food consists of acorns and other
wild mast. In seeking to store up food for future use the
jays bury many thousands of acorns and small nuts in the
ground and in this way plant large numbers of young
BLUE JAY Photograph by Wallace Rogers.
The jay has been charged with eating the eggs and
young birds found in the nests of other birds, and for this
reason has become very unpopular. He is also known to
eat corn and other grain found in fields and about barns
and this has added to his unpopularity.
BLUE JAY — Cyanocitta cristata cristata.
Length 11% inches.
'Upper parts grayish blue; head crested; forehead black; black
band across the back of the head, down the sides of the neck and
across the breast; exposed surface of wings blue; wing coverts bar-
red with black.
Range eastern North America from southern Canada to the Gulf
States. Migratory in the northern part of its range; permanent resi-
dent in the South.
The nest is compactly woven of twigs and lined with small roots;
is usually placed in the crotch of a tree from 10 to 30 feet up.
There are from 4 to 6 eggs pale green, or ashy brown, thickly
marked with varying shades of brown.
"Leave to the Nightingale her shady wood;
A privacy of a glorious light is thine.
Whence thou dost pour upon the world a flood
Of harmony, with instinct more divine;
Type of the wise, who soar, but never roam —
True to the kindred points of Heaven and Home.''
The Red-Winged Blackbird
Reedy marshes, where rushes and other aquatic growth
form a tangled jungle above standing water, attract the
red-winged blackbird and, in such places, we can often
find, when we go fishing or strolling in the spring time,
numbers of these birds whose chattering notes remind us
of noises made by creaking machinery. The male red-
wing is a handsome bird dressed in glossy black with
bright red shoulders tinged with buff, while his mate, like
the female of most other birds, wears a garb rusty gray
in color which blends with the surroundings of her nest
and thus protects her from discovery and harm by ene-
Red-winged blackbirds, like the snipe and kingfisher,
are seldom seen on high, dry lands, but they are a com-
mon and attractive part of the wild life of marsh lands.
After the nesting season, they collect in large flocks and
roam over the country.
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD — Agelaius phoeniceus phoeniceus.
Length 9 V2 inches.
Male black with exception of bright scarlet "shoulders"; female
rusty gray with under parts conspicuously streaked with black and
Range North America east of the Great Plains, except Gulf
coast and Florida. The Florida Red-wing is smaller and has a slen-
Nest is of coarse grasses lined with rootlets and fine grass and is
attached to low bushes or reeds near or over shallow water. The
eggs are from 3 to 5, pale blue, spotted, blotched and scrawled with
dark purple, or black, chiefly at the larger end.
The Meadow Lark
Farmers and other people who live in the country are
familiar with the meadow lark which is generally called
field lark. He is usually seen upon the ground in the
fields, meadows and other open spaces and during the
winter collects in flocks. After he has had his break-
fast, the lark likes to sit upon the branches of a tree in
the sunlight and sing, and his notes are sweet and musi-
The meadow lark is easy to recognize because of his
russet color and bright yellow breast, marked with a
conspicuous black band, and by his feeding habits, which
keep him on the ground where he may be seen walking
awkwardly, searching for insects, which form 78 percent
of his diet. In flight he rises from the ground with a
quick, jerky motion of his wings, then sails gracefully for
a short distance. In former years the lark was known
largely in Georgia as a winter visitor from the north.
Now many of them remain here through the summer, and
their nests may be found in various parts of the state.
These nests are built upon the ground, well hidden in
clusters of thick grass and difficult to find.
SOUTHERN MEADOWLARK— Sturnella Magna Argtula.
Length 10% inches.
A buffy line through the center of the crown; back black, bor-
dered and tipped with a rusty red; line of yellow over eye; under-
parts bright yellow above shading to white; black crescent on breast.
Range eastern North America.
The nest is usually arched, on the ground, and made of grasses.
Eggs 4 to 6, white, speckled with brown.
We sometimes see about the yard or garden a flock of
busy little birds which seem to be clothed in a mixture of
gray, black and yellow, and, as we approach, they rise
in flight, uttering a series of soft notes which sound like
These birds are goldfinches, called by some people
thistle birds and by others wild canaries, on account of
their resemblance both in color and song to pet canaries.
They nest in North Georgia and are the latest of our nest-
ing birds. The goldfinches will sometimes collect about
the garden in late summer where they will remain for
several days feeding upon sunflower and other seeds. In
upper Georgia they do not seem to have any settled place
of abode but wander in flocks at random over the coun-
try. Sometimes a colony of them will remain near a
favorite roosting tree for several weeks. The Goldfinches
are very tame and will feed near your home if unmo-
lested. They change color with the seasons, being much
brighter in summer than in winter.
AMERICAN GOLDFINCH — Astragalinus tristis tristis.
Length 5 x k inches.
Crown, wings and tail black; rest of body bright canary yellow.
Female wears a dull yellow-olive dress which is practically the same
winter and summer. In the winter the male bears a close resem-
blance to the female.
Range eastern North America.
Nest of fine grasses, moss and bark, lined with thistledown, in
trees or bushes. There are 3 to 6 bluish-white eggs which are laid
The Sparrow Family
The sparrows are the most numerous, the most neigh-
borly and therefore the best known of all our birds. The
sparrow family is very large, containing many varieties
which differ so slightly in size and appearance, that it is
almost impossible for the casual observer to tell one from
the other- Not only are there many kinds of sparrows
but there are other kinds of birds which look like spar-
rows and are frequently mistaken for them. Many
people call any small brownish bird a sparrow and thus
the females of the junco, bobolink, indigo bunting and
even the towhee are sometimes thought to be sparrows.
The sparrow family includes a number of graceful,
well dressed birds and also some sweet singers. Some
kinds of sparrows live in the fields and nest in weeds and
briars near the ground. Other kinds live about the edges
of woods and thickets, and build their nests among the
low branches of trees and in clusters of shrubbery.
CHIPPING SPARROW — Spizella passerina passerina.
Length 5% inches.
Top of head reddish; bill black; whitish line over eye; lower part
of upper body slaty gray; underparts grayish white.
Range eastern North America. Nests from Georgia and Mis-
sissippi to Canada; winters from South Carolina to the Gulf.
Nest is of fine twigs or rootlets thickly lined with long hairs located
in trees or bushes from 5 to 20 feet from the ground. 4 to 5 blue,
or greenish blue eggs beautifully marked with brown or black.
FIELD SPARROW— Spizella pusilla pusilla.
Length 5 V2 inches.
Top of head reddish; back reddish finely streaked with black; bill
reddish; gray line over eye; underparts whitish tinged with buff on
breast and sides.
Nests from northern Florida and central Louisiana to Minnesota
and Maine. Nest of coarse grasses, etc., lined with fine grasses and
long hairs, on the ground, or in low bushes. Eggs 3 to 5, white or
bluish white marked with reddish brown.
The Carolina Junco
Traveling" along country roads, or farm trails, in win-
ter, we are likely to come upon a flock of little slate col-
ored birds with white underparts, feeding upon the
ground. They take flight as we approach and we ob-
serve that they show two prominent white stripes on each
side of their outspread tails. After they have alighted
at a safe distance we may hear from some of them notes
which resemble sounds made by striking a taut wire with
a stick. These birds are commonly known as snowbirds,
but their correct name is junco, of which there are two
kinds. Those generally seen in Georgia are the Carolina
juncos, which are seen here only in winter and which nest
in the Allegheny highlands and regions farther north.
Formerly the snowbirds swarmed in large numbers
about the farm homes of upper Georgia where they fed
upon waste grain found about barnyards and weed seeds
obtained in the fields. While not so numerous as for-
merly, the juncos still come, and their presence helps to
enliven the winter landscape.
CAROLINA JUNCO — Junco hyemalis carolinensis.
Length 6 V2 inches.
Upperparts, throat and breast uniform grayish slate-color. Tail
grayish black the two outer feathers and part of third white; bill
horn-color. Female has throat and breast paler than male.
Range southern Alleghenies. Breeds from western Maryland to
North Georgia, winters in adjacent lowlands.
Nest is built on the ground of grasses, moss and rootlets, lined
with fine grasses and long hairs. Eggs 4 to 5, white, speckled, or
spotted with reddish brown.
The Towhee or Joree
Two birds which may frequently be seen in great
abundance in our State in winter, scratching vigorously
with both feet like tiny chickens, are Mr. and Mrs. Tow-
hee, known locally by the name of joree.
Mr. Towhee is conspicuously dressed in black and tan,
with scattered markings of rose and white. His mate is
more soberly dressed in pale brown and faded rose. These
birds, which spend most of their time upon the ground
searching for food among the dead leaves, utter a sharp,
short note — "chewink" — and on account of this note they
are known in some localities as chewinks-
As Mr. and Mrs. Towhee are seen almost constantly
together in winter, their family life seems quite tranquil,
and they evidently live in domestic harmony year after
year. They will come near the house in winter search-
ing for food, but they are very shy in nesting time and
know how to conceal their nests among the dead leaves
and other rubbish on the ground in thickets and swamps.
TOWHEE — Pipilo erythrophthalmus erythrophthalmus.
Length 8 V± inches.
Upperparts, throat and breast, black; abdomen white; sides red-
dish; tail black, the three outer feathers tipped with white; outer
web of outer feather entirely white; iris red; female brown where
male is black.
Range eastern North America. Breeds from Piedmont region to
Canada, west to Kansas.
Nest is built on or near the ground of strips of bark and dead
leaves and lined with tine grasses. The 4 to 5 eggs are white, finely
speckled with shades of reddish brown.
Few birds are more beautiful and better known in
Georgia than the cardinal grosbeak, commonly called
redbird. These delightful feathered neighbors remain
with us throughout the year, and their cheerful notes
may be heard most any time during the winter when the
sunlight is bright and pleasant, and their bright red coats
give a pleasing dash of color to the dull landscape.
In spring time one of the first notes heard in the early
dawn is that of the cardinal calling us to awake and take
up the duties of the new day. The wings of the car-
dinal become somewhat darker in winter, but the rest of
his body retains its brilliant red throughout the year.
His wife, like other modest ladies of the bird world,
dresses in a subdued mixture of olive brownish and old
rose. The bright color of the cardinal makes him a favor-
ite target to be shot at and also attracts cats, hawks and
other enemies and thus many thousands of them are killed
yearly. They greatly need the sympathy and protection
of human friends.
CARDINAL — Cardinalis cardinalis cardinalis.
Length S 1 /^ inches.
Conspicuous crest; red bill; throat and regions about base of bill
black; rest of plumage bright rosy red. The female is much duller
and the crest is less prominent.
Range from the Gulf States to Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, southwestern
Pennsylvania and the southern part of the Hudson Valley.
Nests in bushes; nest built of twigs, strips of bark, etc., lined with
rootlets and grasses.
The 3 to 4 whitish eggs are speckled and spotted with brown.
The Indigo Bunting
When the hot summer sunlight falls upon the stubble
fields and all other birds are silent, we frequently hear
the clear, chipping notes of a brilliantly blue little bird
sitting upon the top of a tall weed. This bird is known
in the country as the summer blue bird. Its correct name
is the indigo bunting. It is much smaller and deeper in
color than the common blue bird which is a permanent
The indigo bunting winters in the tropics and arrives
in Georgia about the middle of April. The female indigo
is a small brownish bird, closely resembling a sparrow,
for which it is frequently mistaken. Owing to its shy-
ness and limited numbers, the indigo is not so well known
as many other summer visitors.
INDIGO BUNTING— Passerina cyanea.
Length 5 V2 inches.
Rich blue somewhat lighter on the back but darker on the head;
wings and tail black edged with blue. Upper parts of female uni-
form grayish brown; wings and tail grayish black margined with
blue; underparts whitish with rather indistinct streaks. Rather hard
Range from Georgia and Louisiana to Canada; winters in the
The nest is generally in the crotch of a bush and is built
of bits of dead leaves, strips of bark and grasses and is lined with
fine grasses and long hairs. The 3 to 4 eggs are pale bluish white.
"The ballad-singers and the Troubadours,
The street musicians of the heavenly city,
The birds, who make sweet music for us all
In our dark hours, as David for Saul."
Conspicuous among the spring arrivals from the south
are the tanagers, called by many, summer red birds, and
often supposed to be near relatives of the cardinal gros-
beaks. The tanagers. however, belong to an entirely dif-
ferent family of birds. The scarlet tanager is a very
showy bird, dressed in flaming red with black wings and
tail, while his mate is dressed in greenish yellow.
The summer tanager, which is of the same family as
the scarlet tanager, arrives about the same time and
hunts for a nesting place among the branches of trees
about barns and meadows. The summer tanager's entire
body is covered with bright red and his mate closely re-
sembles the female scarlet tanager.
SCARLET TANAGER — Piranga erythromelas.
Length 7 V± inches.
Wings and tail black; rest of plumage bright scarlet. Upperparts
of female light olive-green; wings and tail grayish black; underparts
Nests from northern Georgia and southern Kansas to Canada;
winters in the tropics.
Nests of fine twigs and weed stalks usually near the end of a
horizontal limb from 10 to 20 feet up. Eggs 3 to 4, greenish blue
with numerous reddish, or reddish-brown markings.
SUMMER TANAGER— Piranga rubra rubra.
Body rose-red, brighter below; wings grayish black edged with
rose-red. The female is more yellow than the female of the Scarlet
Range Southern States north to Maryland and Illinois; winters in
Nest of leaves and weed stalks near the end of a limb 10 to 20
feet up. Eggs 3 to 4, bluish white, or greenish blue with numerous
The Purple Martin
The traveler along country roads in Georgia often sees
a tall pole with one or more short lengths of wood across
its top from which hang a number of long handled
gourds. These gourds have a hole some two inches in
diameter cut in their sides with a number of very small
holes in the bottom. They are referred to as "martin
gourds" and rarely fail to gain the attention of this very
helpful bird who likes to use these gourds as nesting
sites. The Indians used the same procedure to attract
the martins and were not unmindful of the helpfulness of
this bird. Hawks will not bother chickens if a family of
martins have a nest near the farm house. Martins are
insect eaters and are known to be especially effective as
destroyers of mosquitoes.
Martins have a great way of gathering in large flocks
in late summer to wait until the long journey is made to
their winter home in the tropics. These flocks sometimes
gather in cities and are a great annoyance to their human
neighbors, but we can forgive them for this small in-
fringement of human rights when we remember their
great benefit to man.
PURPLE MARTIN — Progne pubis subis.
Length 8 inches.
The largest of our swallows. Adult male shining blue-black with
duller wings and tail. Female upperparts duller than the male; un-
derparts brownish gray.
Range from the Gulf to Canada. Very common throughout the
South; winters in the tropics.
Nest in bird houses or gourds of sticks and straws. 4 to 5 white
We have all noticed, in the warm, delightful days of
spring, numbers of brightly colored little bird strangers
slipping quietly through the tangled shrubbery or the
branches of trees near our homes. These little strangers
wear a variety of colors — the brilliant colors of the trop-
ics. Some look as if they had been painted by the hand
of an artist. They are splotched with yellow, red, blue,
purple and gold. They are among the most showily
dressed of our bird friends. They are the large and nu-
merous family of warblers, many of which are on their
way to nesting grounds in the north, and are seen by us
only when passing through. Others of this family nest
in upper Georgia and we may become acquainted with
them if we are willing to search for them in secluded
thickets where people seldom go. Some of the warblers
are exceedingly shy and it is a difficult task to get a look
at them or find their nests. He who would know and
enjoy the warblers must be kindly, patient and perse-
CAT WITH WARBLER
(Courtesy Board of Game and Fish of Pennsylvania.)
Of the Warblers that nest in Georgia might be mentioned the
Black and White Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler, Swainson's War-
bler, Golden-winged Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Pine War-
bler, Prairie Warbler, Oven Bird, Louisiana Water Thrush, Ken-
tucky Warbler, Maryland Yellow-throat, Yellow-breasted Chat (See
sketch), Hooded Warbler, the Redstart, the Parula (Southern form),
and the Yellow Warbler.
Do you ne'er think what wondrous beings these?
Do you ne'er think who made them, and who taught
The dialects they speak, where melodies
Alone are the interpreters of thought?
Whose household words are songs in many keys,
Sweeter than instrument of man e'er caught!
The Yellow-Breasted Chat
From tangled thickets along streams and roadsides, we
often hear in springtime a series of strange bird notes,
some of which sound like this — "Whee, whee, what!' r
We may see the bird which utters these discordant notes
flying awkwardly above the thicket, calling as he goes
and jerking his tail in a most ludicrous manner. He de-
lights to utter his strange notes on moonlight nights. This
strange bird is the yellow breasted chat. He is very shy
and hard to approach, but if you get a good look at him,
you will find him very attractive, with bright yellow
breast, olive green back and black cap on his head. The
chat is a summer resident, seldom ventures near towns
and villages, but builds his nest in the tangled thickets
of briars and other dense growth out in the thinly settled
YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT Photograph by Wallace Rogers
YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT— Icteria virens virens.
Length 7 V2 inches.
Upperparts, wings and tail olive-green; eye ring, line from eye to
bill and line on side of throat white; throat, breast and upper abdo-
men bright yellow; lower abdomen white; sides grayish.
Range eastern North America ; winters in the tropics.
The rather bulky nest of coarse grasses, strips of bark and leaves
lined with finer grasses, in a crotch near the ground, contains 3 to 5
white eggs evenly speckled with reddish-brown. The Chat is the
largest of the Warblers.
A velvet flute-note fell down pleasantly,
Upon the bosom of that harmony,
And sailed and sailed incessantly,
As if a petal from a wild-rose blown «
Had fluttered down upon that pool of tone,
And boatwise dropped o' the convex side
And floated down the glassy tide
And clarified and glorified
The solemn spaces where the shadows bide.
From the warm concave of that fluted note
Somewhat, half song, half odour forth did float
As if a rose might somehow be a throat.
— Sidney Lanier.
The Mocking Bird
One of the most gifted of all our bird singers is the
mocking bird. Its marvelous song, which it constantly
changes from one flow of notes to another, resembling the
songs of most other birds, is familiar to all lovers of bird
music. Perhaps no creature has contributed more to the
cheerful entertainment of the South than the mocking
bird. So charming has been its music that many poems
have been written about it and it has gained a higher
place in our literature than any other bird.
Formerly many young mocking birds were captured
before they were able to fly and confined in cages as pets.
This cruel practice of depriving the bird of its freedom
and making a prisoner of it for life is now much less
common than it used to be. The value of the mocking
bird as a musician and also as a destroyer of insect pests
is now generally recognized and most people wish to see
this favorite bird protected and its nests and young ones
r- "*f^" .nan
MOCKING BIRD — Courtesy Audubon Society
The mocking bird is a familiar figure about our farms
and villages where it builds its nest in apple trees and
hedges and may frequently be seen running along the
ground in search of food. It sometimes sings as it flies
and entertains lonely people by singing at night. This
habit of singing at night has given to the mocking bird
the name of the American nightingale.
MOCKINGBIRD — Mimus polyglottos polyglottos.
Length 10 V2 inches.
Too well known to need description. To be confused in color only
with the Loggerhead Shrike. The Mockingbird is larger, has a
longer tail, with no black on the face and is of entirely different
Nests from the Gulf to Iowa and Maryland; accidental in Nova
Scotia, Maine, Ontario and Wisconsin.
Nest of coarse material lined with rootlets, etc., in bushes, small
pine trees, and dense vegetation. There are from 4 to 6 eggs
heavilv marked with brown.
Then from the neighboring thicket the mocking bird, wildest of
Swinging aloft on a willow spray that hung o'er the water
Shook from his little throat such floods of delirious music,
That the whole air and the woods and the waves seemed silent to
One bird call which everybody in the country knows is
that of the catbird. This harsh animal-like utterance has
given to the bird the name by which it is commonly
known, and is seldom heard in upper Georgia before the
warm spring weather has clothed the hedges and briar
thickets in fresh green leaves-
While some of the catbirds winter in Georgia, most of
them spend their winters in the warm regions of the far
South and scatter over the United States and even into
Canada when nesting time comes in April and May. The
catbird builds in thick clusters of vines, briar thickets and
other such sheltered places about the back lot or orchard
and its nest usually contains four greenish blue eggs.
Mr. and Mrs. Catbird wear the same dark, slaty color
and it is hard to distinguish one from the other. They
feed upon insects, berries and wild fruits, and are also
delightful singers, their rippling notes resembling those
of the brown t thrasher. Except for the few that winter
with us, the catbirds leave us in the early autumn, taking
their departure for warmer regions.
CATBIRD — Dumatella carolinensis.
Length 8% inches.
Crown and tail black; rest of plumage slaty gray except under
tail coverts which are chestnut sometimes spotted with slaty-gray.
Both sexes wear the same costume at all seasons and all ages.
Nests from Florida and Texas to Canada; winters from South
Carolina and Georgia to the tropics.
Nest of twigs, grasses and leaves lined with rootlets in bushes and
thickets from 5 to 10 feet up. There are from 3 to 5 eggs of rich
The Brown Thrasher
The brown thrasher is one of our most gifted
singers, and on this account has been called the
sandy mocker. When in a cheerful mood, the thrasher
perches himself upon the topmost branch of a tree and
pours out his liquid notes with remarkable dexterity.
At other times the thrasher can be cross and quarrel-
some, and if we approach the nest we are likely to hear
some sharp clucking sounds followed by a harsh note,
which reminds one more of the angry growl of an animal
than the voice of a bird.
The brown thrasher is easily identified by his rich
brown color, bright eyes and rather long wings and tail.
He is usually seen running about on the ground or flitting
nervously through hedges and thickets. He nests in tan-
gled clusters of vines, along hedge rows and is a familiar
inhabitant of our orchards and the wayside clusters of
BROWN THRASHER ON NEST— Photograph by Wallace Rogers
BROWN THRASHER— Toxostoma rufum.
Length 11V 2 inches.
Upperparts, wings and tail reddish brown; white wing bars; eyes
pale yellow; underparts white heavily streaked with black or brown
except on throat and middle of abdomen. Rather long slightly curved
bill. Long tail.
Range from Florida and Louisiana to Canada.
Nest of coarse rootlets, leaves and twigs in bushes and thickets,
and sometimes on the ground; 3 to 6 grayish white eggs finely
speckled with reddish brown.
There's a merry Brown Thrush sitting up in the tree;
He's singing to me! he's singing to me!
And what does he say, little girl, little boy,
"Oh, the world's running over with joy!
Don't you hear? don't you see?
Hush! look in my tree!
For I am as happy, as happy can be."
And the Brown Thrush keeps singing, "A nest do you see?
And five eggs hid by me in the juniper-tree?
Don't meddle, don't touch, little giri, little boy,
Or the world will lose some of it's joy.
Now I'm glad! now I'm free!
And I always will be,
If you never bring sorrow to me."
The Cheery Little Wren
Wrens are among the most familiar of Georgia birds.
They are very active, always fidgety, moving here and
there about the yard and orchard and sometimes peep-
ing into the windows of houses in search of food or a
nesting place. Wrens are not sweet singers, but their
voices are strong, clear and full of cheerfulness. It is
easjr to know them. They boldly enter houses, sometimes
building nests in old hats, baskets and other attractive
nooks about the place. They flit about the yard and gar-
den and their shrill voices are heard calling cheerily in
the early morning.
They consume large quantities of bugs, caterpillars
and insects, and in this way are very helpful in protect-
ing fruit, berries and vegetables. It is easy to induce
wrens to nest about homes and outbuildings, if you put
up boxes out of the reach of cats and other bird enemies.
The Carolina Wren is the only member of the wren fam-
ily common in this State.
The wren is very helpful to us in destroying many
kinds of bugs and insects. They build large, long nests,
lay four or five speckled eggs and often raise two broods
CAROLINA WREN — Thryothorus ludovicianus ludovicianus.
Length 5V 2 inches.
Conspicuous buff or whitish line over the eye; upperparts bright
reddish, or reddish brown; wings and tail reddish brown finely
barred with black; underparts buff, or cream buff.
Range Gulf States north to Connecticut and Iowa. Permanent
resident in its range.
Nest a bulky structure of leaves, feathers, grasses, etc., lined with
finer grasses and long hairs, in holes in trees or stumps or in crevices
about buildings; 4 to 6 creamy white eggs with numerous red-
dish brown and lavender markings.
The White-Breasted Nuthatch
We have all seen an odd little slate colored bird with
a white breast, creeping around on trees, with his head
downward. He is the white-breasted nuthatch, and is
seen in Georgia the year around searching the tree trunks
for the insects upon which he feeds. This odd bird seems
to prefer creeping about on the undersides of limbs or
exploring trees from the top to the ground, hanging by
his sharp claws, with his head downward, as he goes. He
will sometimes move sideways or go round and round the
tree in a spiral course. He may be easily known by his
peculiar "yank, yank,'' a sort of nasal note that he often
The nuthatch nests in holes in old trees and the queer
manner in which he hunts for his food, and his acrobatic
feats which are equal to those of trained circus perform-
ers, make him one of the most entertaining of our feath-
WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH— Sitta carolinensis carolinensis.
Length 6 inches.
Crown black, cheeks white, rest of upperparts bluish gray; outer
tail feathers black with white patches near their tips; breast white.
Female similar to male except head is grayish.
Range North America east of the Plains. Nests from Gulf States
to Canada. A permanent resident in its range.
Nest of feathers, leaves, etc., in a hole in a tree or stump. 5 to 8
white, or creamy white eggs spotted and speckled with reddish brown
The Tufted Titmouse
'Tee-to, pee-to, pee-to," how often do we hear this
cheery call as it comes to us during the first days of
spring! If we look up the brisk little songster which
utters these notes we will find him to be a dainty slate-
colored creature with a dash of rusty brown along his
sides and a prominent tuft of feathers or topknot on his
head. He has large bright, black eyes and a strong black
bill. He is the tufted titmouse, and lives with us winter
In winter he may be seen flying about among the bare
trees and hedges searching for whatever food he may be
able to find. Early in the spring time Mr. and Mrs- Tit-
mouse start out to look for a home. They find a hole in
a dead tree, a broken limb or in an old decayed fence
post, and in this they proceed to build their nest and
deposit their eggs. During the winter when food is
scarce, they feed upon insects hidden beneath the bark of
trees and in the crevices of wood, or upon the eggs of in-
sects laid in similar places. By thus eating the eggs of
moths, flies, bugs and numerous other insects they greatly
help to reduce the swarms of these things which other-
wise might become so numerous as to make life for us
TUFTED TITMOUSE— Baeolophus bicolor.
Length 6 inches.
Forehead black; rest of upperparts, wings, and tail, gray; under-
parts whitish; sides reddish brown; conspicuous crest.
Range from the Gulf States north to Nebraska and New Jersey.
Resident except at the northern limit of its range.
Nest of leaves, moss, feathers, etc., in a hole in a stump, or tree.
5 to 8 white, or creamy white eggs marked with brown.
Out in the country we are occasionally greeted with the
friendly notes of a little grayish bird with a white breast
and a black cap on his head. The sides of its head are
white, throat black and this contrast of color is so pro-
nounced as readily to attract attention. This little bird
is called by many people the tom-tit and by others the
black capped titmouse. He is really a chickadee, and
tells you so by his song in which frequently occur notes
like this, "Chick-a-dee, chick-a-dee."
The Carolina Chickadee is the form we know in Geor-
gia. It builds its nest near the ground in the holes of
stumps, decayed fruit trees and old fence posts. It
eats spiders, caterpillars and the eggs of other insects,
plant lice and scales. These birds are quite tame and
will nest about the barnyard or orchard when not mo-
CAROLINA CHICKADEE — Penthestes carolinensis carolinensis.
Length 4 V2 inches.
Crown, back of neck, and throat shining black; sides of head and
neck white; wing and tail feathers edged with whitish; back ashy;
breast white; sides washed with cream-buff.
Range Southeastern United States north to New Jersey and cen-
Nest of grasses, feathers, moss and plant down, in dead trees and
stumps not higher than 15 feet from ground. The 5 to 8 eggs are
white, or creamy white speckled with reddish brown.
And hark, how blithe the throstle sings!
He, too, is no mean preacher:
Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be vour teacher.
The Wood Thrush
One of the most welcome visitors in the spring time is
the wood thrush, a plump little brown bird with a
speckled breast. This pleasant little feathered neighbor
often steals in quietly and the first we know of his pres-
ence is when we hear his wonderful song in the nearby
trees or see him running briskly across the yard after the
manner of the robin. The wood thrush is a cousin of the
robin and in size, shape and movements reminds one very
much of that bird. Both feed upon worms, grubs and
beetles found upon the ground-
The wood thrush builds a nest of sticks, leaves and
small roots and then lines the inside with clay. These
nests, which are better built and more substantial than
the nests of most other birds, are generally located in
thick bushes or upon the low branches of trees along the
edges of fields and yards. The nests are often so low
that the eggs can easily be seen. There are four or five
of these, and the eggs are deep blue in color.
The wood thrush is one of the sweetest of singers and
because it likes to build its nest near the homes of people,
its song is often heard and much enjoyed, especially in
the late afternoon. The wood thrush, when kindly
treated, becomes very tame, will feed about the door of
your home, build its nest a few steps away and entertain
you day after day with its delightful music.
WOOD THRUSH— Hylociehla mustelina.
Length 8% inches.
Bright reddish-brown on head changing to pale olive-brown on
tail. Underparts white, thickly marked with large round blackish
Nests from the Gulf States north to central Minnesota and south-
ern New Hampshire; winters in the tropics.
Nest of leaves, fine twigs, etc., with an inner wall of mud, lined
with fine rootlets, usually in saplings from 5 to 20 feet up. 3 to 5
greenish blue eggs.
No bird has gained a higher place in the affections of
the American people than the robin. Formerly millions
of them came from the northern states and Canada where
they nested and spent the winter in Georgia and other
southern states. When the writer of this sketch was a
boy, great flocks of robins could be seen throughout the
country. They fed upon all kinds of berries such as
China berries and the berries of the blackgum, and were
killed in large numbers by hunters. Owing to the de-
structive warfare waged upon them by hunters, the
diminishing food supply, and other causes, the robins
became scare in Georgia, but with protective laws and
sentiment in their favor they are now increasing in num-
bers in this State.
Robins are large and conspicuous birds and will, when
not molested, come into your yard and feed upon worms,
some of which they pull out of the ground with their long
strong bills. Formerly they nested north of the Blue
Ridge, but in recent years have extended their nesting
territory south of Atlanta. With proper encouragement,
we might induce considerable numbers to spend the sum-
SOUTHERN ROBIN — Planesticus migratorius achrusterus.
Length 9 V2 inches.
The yellow bill, blackish head, white throat streaked with black,
and dull reddish breast, and large size, make the robin a bird easy
to identify. The northern form is the one we see in the winter
in Georgia; the one that nests here is known as the Southern Robin
and is somewhat smaller and paler than the northern form.
Range southeastern United States. Breeds from southern illi-
nois and Maryland to north Georgia.
Nest of leaves, coarse grasses, etc., with an inner wall of mud and
a lining of fine grasses, in shade, or fruit trees. There are 3 to 5
greenish blue eggs.
The common blue bird is a familiar object in many
parts of Georgia in all seasons of the year. Formerly
they were very plentiful, but the freeze of 1898 destroyed
great numbers of them. They are now increasing in num-
bers year by year.
The bluebird loves the open fields and likes to nest in
decayed stumps and in the hollows of old apple trees,
and will also nest in boxes when not too near human hab-
itations. The male bluebird is easily recognized by his
bright blue body and russet breast The colors of the
female are more subdued. She lays four or five pale
bluish eggs and her mate fights with great energy to keep
enemies away from the nest, and will sometimes attack
hawks, crows and other birds much larger than himself.
Bluebirds are rarely seen about towns and cities, but out
in the country their liquid warbling notes are frequently
heard in the springtime and the birds may be seen flitting
here and there in the fields and orchards.
BLUEBIRD — Sialia sialis sialis.
Length 7 inches.
Upperparts, wings and tail bright blue; throat, breast and sides
dull reddish; abdomen white. Female with grayish upperparts and
paler throat, breast and sides. The Bluebird's red, white and blue
mark him as a truly American bird.
Range eastern North America. Breeds from southern Canada to
Florida. Winters in southern portion of its range.
Nest of grasses in hollow trees, or bird houses. 4 to 6 bluish-
In the thickets and the meadows
Piped the bluebird, the Owaissa.
A MESSAGE TO THE BOYS AND GIRLS OE GEORGIA
It has been said that the boys and girls of today are the
men and women of the next generation. Whoever made
the statement might have gone a step further, and added
that they are the fathers and mothers of the generation
after the next.
Realizing this, conservationists are now giving more
time and thought to the boys and girls than to the adults
of the present era. Boys and girls are naturally kind and
warm-hearted. The boys delight in animals and forests,
while the girls love the birds and flowers. If each will
adopt the likings of the other, the future of birds, ani-
mals and wild life will be assured. The hills and valleys
will be re-forested ; the watersheds will be protected, and
the streams will be alive with fish. The fields will be
filled with game and wild flowers, and all mankind will
be drawn closer together.
VALUABLE BIRDS KILLED BY THOUGHTLESS HUNTERS
(Courtesy Board of Game and Fish of Pennsylvania)
4 Robins (1 to 4); 1 Flicker (5); 2 Hairy Woodpeckers (6 & 7);
13 Cedar Waxwings (8 to 20); 1 Purple Finch (21);
1 Phoebe (22).
LOYAL LEGION OF NATURE GUARDIANS
The State Board of Game and Fish has organized the
Loyal Legion of Nature Guardians to enlist the boys and
girls of the State in the fight to preserve Nature. Several
thousand boys and girls have joined already, and the or-
ganization is spreading to other states. As the originator
of the movement, Georgia must keep ahead of the pro-
cession at all times.
WHO ARE ELIGIBLE FOR MEMBERSHIP
Any Georgia white boy or girl between the ages of
eight and eighteen may become a member of the Legion
upon signing an application, taking an oath of allegiance
and securing the recommendation of his parents, teacher,
minister, or other adult person. There is no cost of any
sort. A badge, a certificate of membership, a set of in-
structions, and various books and pamphlets will be sent
to each member, postage paid-
MEMBERS NOT EXPECTED TO BE SPIES
The boys and girls who become members of the Loyal
Legion of Nature Guardians are not expected to act as
spies. However, they are requested to help their county
game warden distribute placards, official bulletins and
other literature when called upon.
HOW GUARDIANS MAY HELP
Birds and Animals
Members of the Loyal Legion of Nature Guardians are
asked to form local clubs and study birds, animals, trees
They can organize hikes, and get closer to Nature, and
study their own communities.
Find out which birds and animals are useful, and which
Learn the species of Hawks that are destructive to bird
life. Know the other natural enemies of bird life.
Attract birds to the home or farm by putting out food
and water for them. Build bird houses and bird baths.
Full instructions will be sent you.
Discourage other boys from robbing birds' nests, or
shooting song birds with air guns or sling shots.
Discourage the caging of Mocking Birds, Cardinals and
other song birds as pets. Birds and animals love their
freedom as much as humans do.
Encourage the establishment of bird sanctuaries in
your own community.
Know the valuable fur-bearing animals and protect
them from wanton destruction.
Have your local club study and discuss the State Game,
Fish and Trapping Laws.
NEST OF BOB WHITE— Photograph by Wallace Rogers
Forests and Flowers
Woods fires and unnecessary burning of under-brush
and hedges destroy thousands of birds, nests, fur-bearing
animals and other forms of wild life each year. The ac-
tual money loss caused by forest fires in Georgia is esti-
mated at millions of dollars-
Study forest preservation, and know what it means to
you and your State.
Study trees, and learn to identify them by their size,
bark, leaves and wood.
Plant a tree and watch it grow as you do.
Always stamp out a fire in the woods, whether it was
started by you or someone else.
Discourage your friends in the practice of wastefully
destroying dogwood, honey-suckle, and other wild
Get permission to fish or hunt on private land, and re-
spect the property rights of the owner. Do not leave his
gates open to let his stock out.
Do not fish during the spawning season, (March, April,
May and June). One fish caught during spawning season
may mean the destruction of millions of eggs.
About one-third of the counties in Georgia forbid fish-
ing during the spawning season. Whether your county
does or not, be a good sportsman and give the baby fish a
Do not use nets, seines, dynamite, or traps of any sort
to catch fish. The old-fashioned hook and line is more
Do not take out more fish than you and your family
can eat. Your neighbors are always glad to catch their
Put undersized fish back into the water when you catch
them. Always wet your hands before taking a little fish
off your hook, and thus save the life of the fish you are
going to throw back into the water.
Ask your teacher to explain to your class about the
Loyal Legion of Nature Guardians, if she has not already
Discuss the purposes of the Legion with your parents
and get them more interested in protecting our birds, ani-
mals, fish and forests from unnecessary destruction.
Get acquainted with your County Game Warden, and
help him in any way you can in the protection of game
Don't injure or tease the farmer's live stock. The farm-
er is the true sportsman's friend, and without his good
will there would be little opportunity for any of us to
hunt or fish.
Be clean, fair and sportsmanlike in everything you do.
LIVE UP TO YOUR OATH AS A MEMBER OF THE
LOYAL LEGION OF NATURE GUARDIANS.
An Invitation to the Boys and Girls from the
1 am sincerely anxious for every Georgia boy and girl
of the qualified age to become a Nature Guardian and
thus help the State Board of Game and Fish in its effort
to save our birds, animals, fish and forests from wasteful
destruction and abuse. The future of Georgia in preserv-
ing these priceless gifts of Nature depends upon the men-
tal attitude of our youth. The Loyal Legion of Nature
Guardians offers our boys and girls an opportunity for
fascinating and helpful effort, and to render a patriotic
service to our state.
Every boy and girl who would like to become a Nature
Guardian, should address a letter to the Junior Depart-
ment of the State Board of Game and Fish, requesting full
information concerning the Loyal Legion of Nature Guar-
dians, which will be forwarded promptly.
PETER S. TWITTY, Commissioner.
APPLICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP
I hereby request membership in the Loyal Legion of Na-
ture Guardians, and subscribe to the following oath:
"UPON MY HONOR AS A NATURE GUARDIAN I prom-
ise to take care of our natural friends, the birds, fish, and all
useful dumb animals; the flowers, the trees and the forests. 1
will do my best to protect them from abuse and hard usage.
I promise not to rob a bird's nest, nor to wilfully kill a
bird, an animal or a fish in violation of the law, nor to abuse
or bully a dumb animal; and I will strive to keep others from
doing these things to the best of my ability. I will endeavor to
prove myself a friend to all living things that are harmless.
I will put out camp fires started by myself or others, and
will do my utmost to protect trees from destruction, because
forest fires not only destroy the trees and underbrush, but they
also burn birds and animals or their nests and dens.
I will familiarize myself with the game and fish laws of
my state so as to be able to govern my conduct and advise oth-
ers, and in every possible way I will do my level best to protect
the inhabitants of the Great Outdoors.
All of this I faithfully promise upon my Word of Honor."
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